THE DRUG-LORD OF THE EAST
She always moved around with a cane made of wood but crusted with black diamonds. It was not because of a disease of gait nor because of age, but as a symbol of power and as a trademark. She never showed her face during operations nor whilst being driven around or any other place you can think of, except in her home of course. I was her chauffeur, butler and right hand all at once. I had ascended to this position and it hadn’t been an easy task. Whilst at it, I broke my forearm twice, fell off a few cliffs thrice and acquired 20 scars worth of lashes on my back. I used to think of it as a sign of my loyalty and allegiance to her through thick and thin. Her name was Yolanda Chikamure, at least on her birth certificate but you can only imagine the amount of power she had and if really, she could be defined by a name on a piece of paper. The more relevant thing is her street name which was Mhungu. Mhungu is a snake found in Zimbabwe, famous for leaving under a ‘mutsubvu’ (smellyberry fingerleaf) fruit tree. It is also known for entering its hole tail first as was she. She never walked away with her back turned in real life and in dealings, she always seemed to have a sixth sense, always knowing when danger was coming. So, essentially, no one could ambush her and considering only I knew her face and place of residence, only I could be the culprit if anything happened to her.
So, this one time we went to a deal, I and my co-partner who still thinks I should just address her as Yolanda (not as a working partner) and as Mhungu in public. An Indian man had been in town and he was dealing in cocaine. Word had been that he had the best quality in the whole Eastern Hemisphere of Zimbabwe and always liked to meet the boss when he was having a first deal. So, let me break it down a bit for you. Mhungu had national notoriety and lived in Eastern province, Manicaland, Mutare to be exact. She dealt in drugs from weed, Broncleer to cocaine and heroin. Any person who sold drugs in Mutare was answerable to her when called upon and though she did not deal in other cities/towns, she had her spies everywhere, literally everywhere. Their function was to just monitor trade elsewhere but mostly to see to it that no plan of overthrowing her would prevail. Then one would wonder why overthrow a woman who runs a small city like Mutare and how does she have national notoriety yet located in just one city. Well, I will answer that later.
So, we arrived at the location, on one of the small hills in Fern Valley. It was just the car I and Mhungu had plus two other black, carbon plated Toyota Hiluxes with security detail. The Indian man however, had much more security detail than one would expect but it was nothing we were scared of because like I said, Mhungu’s little birds were everywhere and chirped all the time. She exited the car, dressed in a red, sleeveless on the left shoulder. A colourless strap of her bra went over it and just beside it, to the right was a necklace of made up of 9 pearls, along with pearl-laced earrings. Her face was covered by a mask which depicted the Joker from The Dark Knight Rises. Out came the cane and she approached the middle ground where the Indian man was already waiting.
“Kwaziwai (Greetings),” the Indian man said trying to impress her with the Shona.
“Oow my, did you learn that for this meeting? It sounds just like a Shona said it.”
“No, I didn’t. I actually have a good command of the language.”
“Really, but I thought you were fairly new in Zimbabwe?”
“Yes, I’m but not to the language. My father had me learn it whilst I was in India until he passed, God bless his soul.”
“Oow my, he had you prepared. Great.” She paused waiting for him to speak but he didn’t.
She continued, “To business then, Mr Aadav.”
“Sure,” he replied but with an inquisitive face.
“Something the matter, Mr Aadav?”
“Yes actually. It’s the mask. I feel insulted that you wear a mask and hide your identity to a partner who comes with a pure heart and good intentions. Two generations now, I think I deserve to know your face at least. The men can leave or turn away if it fits you.”
“Aren’t we all pure of heart like David? Good sir, if I may, your father understood the way I did business. The mask is part of it. If it is insulting to you, oo good sir, then you may take your leave and do business elsewhere. These are my grounds, my country and business is done in my fashion, not yours.” She pressed on her cane and it dug into the ground.
“Feisty, aren’t you? My father always said you were if provoked.” He grinned.
“And I guess he also told you about the trophies I have of men who overreached, or at least tried to?” She grinned back.
“Ooh yes he did. Of course.”
“Good, now please back to business, I don’t have all day.”
“Okay, sure. But still about the mask though…”
At this point, she leaned forward and growled like a dog at him. “Do not provoke me to anger ooh good sir.” She swallowed her saliva. “I plead.” I stepped forward and wrapped my arm around her abdomen and whispered something in her ear.
“Haha,” the Indian man remarked. “So, a woman should be the boss of me now. Society knows better the place of a woman.” He lashed out and was about to slap Mhungu but I caught his hand in the act.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” I said with a strong tone. “Watch yourself.”
He let his hand down and straightened himself up.
“I will kill him right now, I swear,” Yolanda said to me in a low tone.
Somehow the Indian man overheard it, “Kill who?” he said. “With what if I may know when your men were as cheap as cheap wine to buy. They are dissatisfied apparently.
We looked behind us and our men had their guns pointed at us. My heart sank, along with Yolanda’s.
“Now the mask please, Miss Mhungu.”
“Huh, you take me for a cheap skate? Over my dead body will you remove this mask,” she said.
Mr Aadav’s face filled with rage and he walked towards us. I was about to put Yolanda behind me but instead she put me behind her. She had a tinge of masculinity which appeared and disappeared like Moby Dick. She stood tall, back straight and pointed her cane at the Indian man. As she did, a bullet struck it and sent it flying, landing 10 metres away from us.
“Feisty still,” the Indian man spoke.
Mr Aadav being 1 metre from us now, Yolanda shouted, “Tatenda, do it!”
5 seconds after that, Mr Aadav exclaimed, “Ouch!” and quickly, his hand moved to his shoe. “What was that?”
“My name is Mhungu young man.” She proceeded to go and pick up her cane. “Didn’t your father teach you what mhungu means?” She picked up the cane and proceeded to walk towards the Indian man.
“It is a snake of sorts. Black on the outside, on the inside too if I may add.” She breathed as she now stood near Mr Aadav. “I am lethal, I am venomous and my enemies feel my bite.” She put her cane to the ground.
“Your leg was administered with a lethal dose of injectable cocaine which will give you convulsions very soon.”
At this point, he lost balance and fell to the ground. “Very soon,” Yolanda added.
“And by the way, my men cannot be bought. Their loyalty lies only and I repeat only with me.” She bashed the Indian man’s leg with the cane. “And my inside man, well, I always have a backup plan.”
“He is among you and you will never know him.” “And last of all, tell your good old father I said hello.”
The convulsions started with foaming at the mouth. His body jerked back and forth. She pulled apart the cane and placed the dagger’s end into Mr Aadav’s eye and the convulsions ceased immediately, leaving blood and foam on the ground. She took it out, wiped it on her red dress, put it back, signalled his men put down the Indian man’s men. They soon did and only one was left standing, Tatenda of course. “Well done Tatenda,” Yolanda remarked. “You have been promoted to captain.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” he replied.
“Let’s go home Panashe, I’m tired. I’m cooking today though, pork special,” she told me.
“Yummy,” I responded. “And the piglets too please.”
Yolanda smiled back.
Oooh, and to answer my question previously put up, Mutare is a border city, meaning she controls the trade with the Mozambicans and the latter only agreed to trade with her making her the only middle-woman and as for the notoriety, well, the story answers that. That simple.